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Who are the collaborators?

The Question is a collaboration led by Extant, who are working with BAC, the Computing Department of The Open University and independent specialists. The Question is funded by the Technology Strategy Board, a business-focused organisation dedicated to promoting technology – enabling innovation across the UK.
The Technology Strategy Board | Extant | The Open University | BAC

Question marks in the shape of a lotus flower, smaller question marks emerge from the centre and are connected via dotted lines.

Technology Strategy Board

The role of the Technology Strategy Board is to stimulate technology-enabled innovation in the areas which offer the greatest scope for boosting UK growth and productivity. They promote, support and invest in technology research, development and commercialisation. They spread knowledge, bringing people together to solve problems or make new advances.

The Technology Strategy Board advises Government on how to remove barriers to innovation and accelerate the exploitation of new technologies. And they work in areas where there is a clear potential business benefit, helping today’s emerging technologies become the growth sectors of tomorrow.
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Extant is the only professional performing arts company in the UK managed by visually impaired arts professionals that aims to promote the arts and culture of the visually impaired community.

Founded in 1997 Extant has grown as a successful innovation in arts management and creative practise, bringing a unique cultural perspective of ‘visual impairment’ to broaden employment, training and consultancy opportunities through the Arts.

Since 1997 Extant has

  • Developed new methods of theatre practise
  • Produced four ground-breaking national tours
  • Toured productions internationally and produced tours for international artists
  • Led arts consultancies, seminars and training in education, business and the arts
  • Been the first disability led organisation to win an Arts and Business Diversity Award in 2007.
  • Mounted  experimental outdoor site specific productions.

Maria Oshodi, Extant’s Artistic Director, and Director of The Question, has recently been cited as one of the Cultural Leadership Programme’s ‘Women to Watch’ (March 2010)

The Question  was conceived by Maria Oshodi and evolves Extant’s research into the experience of visual impairment as a creative space.
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Independent Specialists

The Haptic Lotus technology was developed by robotic specialists Adam Spiers, Paul O’Dowd and David McGoran

Adam has been designing Haptic navigation aids for the past 6 years and has been in discussions with Extant about creating a theatre-specific haptic device since 2006. The central motivations of Adam’s designs are the concepts of enaction, active exploration and appreciation of the limited bandwidth of non-visual senses. His devices are also designed to be unobtrusive, highly intuitive and applicable to social, rather than laboratory based, situations.

circuit boards with L.E.D.s

Due to the high technical demands of the The Question, Adam collaborated with Paul, a fellow robotics researcher and David, a puppeteer turned roboticist who develops novel actuation mechanisms.

Collectively Adam, Paul and David’s portfolios cover various creative technology projects that have applied robotics technology to systems that are more at home in galleries or public spaces than manufacturing plants or research laboratories. These projects have included canvas mounted drawing robots, giant interactive displays made from household junk and semi autonomous puppets.

The Open University

The Pervasive Interaction Lab at the Open University forms part of the Computing Department, and has its home in the innovative Jennie Lee building in Milton Keynes. This research Lab is made up of an interdisciplinary team comprising computer scientists, cognitive scientists, designers and psychologists. It is primarily concerned with the human aspects of ubiquitous computing, exploring the possible interactions between people, technologies and representations. A main focus is on augmenting and extending everyday, learning and work activities.

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BAC (Battersea Arts Centre)

National newspapers state that BAC is ‘Britain’s most influential theatre’ (The Guardian), ‘a dream factory generating the theatre of tomorrow’ (The Times) and ‘definitely on the map of cultural powerhouses’ (Daily Telegraph).

The birthplace of Jerry Springer the Opera and the first London venue to present Punchdrunk, BAC nurtures talented emerging artists and is renowned for making some of the most cutting-edge new work in the UK. The BAC works with artists who question traditional forms of theatre and make work that often doesn’t start life with a script. Theatre that blurs genres, challenges our view of the world and thrives on experiment. The BAC presents performances across 70 rooms in our old town hall: in theatre spaces, offices, down in the basement and up in the attic. They also have events that spill out of the building and onto the street: in schools, supermarkets, laundrettes, on boating lakes or online.

Housed in a Grade II* listed old town hall, BAC is a place where artists, audience, participants and staff can play a role in inventing the future of theatre.
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Read about the team

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